Tennessee Volunteers vs. Vanderbilt Commodores Pick & Prediction NOVEMBER 26th 2022

Stadium: Vanderbilt Stadium Nashville
Logo Tennessee Volunteers
Logo Vanderbilt Commodores

-15 +107
66.5o -110



Tennessee has little time to regroup as it prepares to close out the regular season against in-state rival Vanderbilt on Saturday night in Nashville, Tenn.

The Volunteers (9-2, 5-2 Southeastern Conference) endured a crushing 63-38 road loss to South Carolina last week.

Tennessee dropped from the cusp of the College Football Playoff at No. 5 to No. 10 in the new rankings released Tuesday night.

Making things worse, starting quarterback Hendon Hooker was lost for the remainder of the season with a torn left anterior cruciate ligament.

So what's left for the Volunteers to play for?

"I don't really know when (was) the last time we played for a New Year's Six bowl, but I know that that's still a big bowl game for us," Tennessee defensive tackle Omari Thomas said. "That's still something that we're looking forward to."

The 2000 Fiesta Bowl, when Tennessee was coming off a national championship the year before, was the last time the Volunteers played in a postseason game comparable to a "New Year's Six" bowl.

Tennessee will try to rally behind backup quarterback Joe Milton III, a senior transfer from Michigan and Hooker's roommate who has played sparingly in six games this season.

"Outside of subtle nuances that we'll study through the snaps he has taken, I think this is a system offense," Vanderbilt coach Clark Lea said. "I don't see it as deviating if at all from what has delivered their success."

Milton has completed 23 of 33 passes for 573 yards and six touchdowns with no interceptions while rushing for 72 yards on seven attempts.

"(Milton) was preparing like he was QB1 throughout the whole year, so he is definitely prepared for this opportunity," Tennessee running back Jabari Small said. "It was just time, he was going to get his chance. Hate (that) it had to be under these circumstances, but he is more than ready."

After winning five games combined the previous three seasons, Vanderbilt (5-6, 2-5) has put together back-to-back upset victories over then-No. 24 Kentucky and Florida to give itself a chance to clinch bowl eligibility for the first time since 2018.

The Commodores have their own quarterback quandary as it is still unclear whether freshman AJ Swann, who hasn't played since getting hurt on Nov. 5 against South Carolina, will be ready to return this weekend. He and junior Mike Wright were listed as co-starters on the team's depth chart this week.

Swann has completed 104 of 181 passes for 1,195 yards, 10 touchdowns and two interceptions while Wright has connected on 78 of 135 for 946 yards and 12 touchdowns with four interceptions.

"(Swann) hasn't played football in a while, so we want to be conscious of that," Lea said. "Obviously, we know his skills and he has certainly accumulated enough reps this year to be ready. He has to be healthy. If he's healthy, then the decision tips to the person who gives our team the best chance to win."

Vanderbilt hopes to take advantage of a Tennessee defense that gave up a staggering 606 yards of total offense against South Carolina last week.

Tennessee is 78-33-5 all-time against Vanderbilt and has won the past three meetings. The Commodores' most recent win came in Nashville in 2018.

--Field Level Media

Tennessee Volunteers
Vanderbilt Commodores
Tennessee Volunteers
Vanderbilt Commodores

Tennessee Volunteers vs. Vanderbilt Commodores Recap NOV 26TH 2022

Jaylen Wright ran for 160 yards and two touchdowns on only five carries to help No. 10 Tennessee close its regular season with a 56-0 rout of host Vanderbilt on Saturday night in Nashville, Tenn.

The victory, coupled with multiple upsets of teams ranked ahead of the Volunteers (10-2, 6-2 Southeastern Conference) in the College Football Playoff poll, could put them in a better position to land a New Year's Six Bowl or even keep very slim hopes of making the CFP alive.

The Commodores (5-7, 2-6) lost to Tennessee for the fourth consecutive time.

Most of Wright's yards came on touchdown runs of 83 and 50 yards.

Jabari Small also scored two touchdowns and ran for 79 yards on 11 carries as the Volunteers leaned heavily on their running game in the absence of injured starter Hendon Hooker, who was lost for the season last week with a torn ACL.

Joe Milton III, who completed 11 of 21 passes for 147 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions, started and connected with Jalin Hyatt for 61 yards to the Vanderbilt 3-yard line on the third play of the game. The play set up a short touchdown run by Small on the ensuing play.

Even with three offensive linemen injured, the Volunteers ran for 362 yards. Dylan Sampson contributed 131 yards on 12 carries, including an 80-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Even tight end Princeton Fant found his way into the end zone running the ball with a 1-yard dive into the end zone late in the first quarter.

Dee Williams made an impact on special teams when he fielded a punt and returned it 73 yards for a touchdown to put the Vols ahead 21-0 with 8:09 left in the first half.

AJ Swann played for the first time since Nov. 5 and replaced starter Mike Wright at quarterback on Vanderbilt's third drive of the second half after Wright completed only 7 of 13 passes for 28 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions. Swann didn't have any more success, as he completed 11 of 17 passes for 79 yards. Ray Davis ran for 60 yards and Wright totaled 50 rushing yards.

--Field Level Media

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